Idaho's abundant renewable energy resources continue to fill a critical role in creating and maintaining a clean energy future - not only for the state of Idaho, but for the nation and the world. Idaho has supplies of almost all known renewable energy resources available to help meet our future needs. Some come directly or indirectly from the sun — such as solar, wind, and biomass — and some from other natural processes such as geothermal heat.
- Bioenergy is derived from organic matter such as agricultural byproducts, forest residues and lawn clippings. It also includes methane gas collected from municipal solid waste landfills and wastewater treatment plants.
- Geothermal was probably the first renewable energy source harnessed for use in Idaho and is one of the most reliable renewable energy sources. Geothermal energy is created by the earth naturally heating water sources that can then be utilized for generating electricity, heating buildings, growing plants and water life, and for recreation.
- Solar is radiant energy that comes from the sun. It has many applications, including generating electricity and heating structures and water. Idaho has many opportunities for solar applications, depending on location.
- Wind energy is the combined result of uneven heating of the earth's surface by the sun and its rotation. Windmills have provided power to pump water in Idaho for decades. More recently, new technologies such as wind turbines and wind energy converters have begun to generate electricity in Idaho, and more are in development.
- Hydroelectric power has historically supplied the bulk of Idaho's power, contributing significantly to the state's low electric rates. By harnessing the renewable energy of flowing water in Idaho rivers, hydropower today provides roughly half of the state's electricity. As interest in noncarbon fuels grows, opportunities to develop additional hydropower resources could emerge. Its future in Idaho could include, but is not limited to,low-head operations, pumped storage, and in-stream technologies.